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October 1, 2008 > Join Washington Hospital at a Free Emergency Preparedness Fair on October 9

Join Washington Hospital at a Free Emergency Preparedness Fair on October 9

Are you and your family prepared in the event of a disaster? And what is your local hospital doing?

At any given moment, our community could experience an earthquake, a major fire, a wide-spread power outage or a terrorist event. More easily than most of us may realize, we could be left for long periods of time, without one or more of the basic elements that we depend on for our personal comfort and safety including electricity, gas, water and telephone service. These are frightening thoughts. And yet, the only way to feel safer is to consider all the possible scenarios and then prepare.

On Thursday, October 9, Washington Hospital will host a free emergency preparedness fair that will provide important information on how you and your family can prepare for emergencies and give you tips on how to respond if a disaster should occur. Representatives from various safety agencies including the Fremont, Newark and Union City Fire and Police Departments will be on hand to answer your questions and demonstrate ways to prepare for all possible emergency scenarios. The fair is open to the entire community and will take place at 2500 Mowry Avenue in the Washington West parking lot (look for the large tent) from 3 to 7 p.m. A special Washington Hospital 50th Anniversary Program will take place at 5:30 p.m. (See the box below for complete details on the upcoming event.)

Ready to serve in a crisis

"Hospitals must be prepared for many potential disasters so they can serve the community during the crisis and, then, resume normal operations as soon as possible," says Stephen Ross, M.D., Washington Hospital Medical Director of Professional Resources and a Fremont Police Officer/Medical Director on the Fremont Police Department's SWAT team.

Dr. Ross has spent a number of years working actively with a team of Washington employees, including Safety and Security Manager Ron Hunt, to help prepare the hospital in the event of a wide range of disasters that could befall our community. The team is also in close communication with the appropriate city, county, state and federal agencies that could assist the Hospital in any type of emergency response.

"The hospital has invested considerable time and resources in developing the building blocks for emergency preparedness," adds Dr. Ross. "It also has systems and equipment in place, including decontamination facilities, protective and respiratory gear, and a security force trained to monitor the activities on and around the campus and respond to avert a crisis or step in when a crisis occurs. "In addition we are part of the Tri-Cities Emergency Services Association (TESA) which is an organization of agencies ( Law enforcement, Fire, PG&E and others) that that have agreed to provide mutual aid in the event of a disaster. Each agency brings unique assets to the table in order to manage the emergency more efficiently."

Preparing yourself

"In addition to preparations at the hospital, it's important that every person in our community be ready in case of disaster and that means planning ahead," says Kris LaVoy, R.N., chief of compliance at Washington Hospital. "The more prepared each individual and household is, the better off we all will be."

LaVoy advises that we shouldn't assume that community services will immediately be available. Therefore, we should be prepared to be self-reliant for a number of days. This is a topic every family should talk about, including formulating an emergency plan and putting it in place.

The following basic five-step plan will help you prepare for any crisis, large or small:
* Duplicating important documents and keeping the extra copies off site, either in a safe deposit box or with someone you trust.
* Designating an out-of-state contact person to act as a communications "hub" and inform others of your situation.
* Developing an emergency response plan for everyone in your household describing, in advance, all the steps you should take after a disaster to keep as safe as possible and communicate with yourselves and others. The plan should also list all supplies and equipment to have ready. The special needs of seniors, people with disabilities, children and non-English speakers should be accounted for.
* Compiling an emergency kit and rotating the supplies every six months.
* Knowing your community resources and, possibly, becoming a resource yourself.

For more information about disaster preparedness, go to

Everyday citizens can learn how to come to the aid of the community during a widespread emergency as a member of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and through Personal Emergency Preparedness training (PEP). For more information, visit

Emergency Preparedness Fair - October 9 (3 to 7 p.m.)

The upcoming Emergency Preparedness Fair is a great way to meet and learn important safety information from fire, public safety and emergency response professionals. The event will also include a health fair where you can receive free screenings for cholesterol, diabetes, and blood pressure and a special Kids Zone and art contest for students will take place as well. The art contest is open to students in the 5th to 12th grade. Artwork is due on Wednesday, October 1. Call (510) 494-7053 for art contest questions.

Free Raffle, Giveaways and Cake

Several fun and interactive booths will offer giveaways and all fair participants can enter a free raffle. The special grand prize is a Nintendo Wii and Wii Fit. A special Washington Hospital 50th Anniversary Celebration Program and cake cutting will take place at 5:30 p.m. The Nintendo raffle winners will be announced at 5:30 p.m. Winners must be present to win.

Calling Washington Hospital's First Year Babies

To help commemorate Washington Hospital's 50th Anniversary, the Hospital would like to get in touch with people that were born at Washington Hospital between November 1958 and October 1959. We want to hear from you! Call (510) 494-7053.

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